Ban on café and restaurants questioned

Daniel Andrews decision to continue the ban on cafés and restaurants from seated service is being questioned by Gippsland business owners.

Last Friday, National Cabinet’s health advice stated café and restaurants could reopen with the implementation of physical distancing rules (1 individual per 4 square metres) and restricting seated service to a maximum of 10 patrons.

The Nationals Member for Eastern Victoria Region, Melina Bath said the Premier should allow businesses to decide their own viability if they could comply with the health protocols.

“Many café and restaurant owners are frustrated that the Premier’s decision was not based on health advice, instead he made an assumption that it’s not viable for a business to conduct table service for 10 patrons at a time.

“If a café or restaurant can operate within the COVID-19 health protocols, it should be individual choice to recommence seated service.”

Despite the national health advice, Victorian cafés and restaurants remained banned, while Queensland, South Australia and New South Wales business are able to recommence trading with limited table service.

Ms Bath has written to the Premier asking for Victoria’s Stage1 recovery rules for cafés and restaurants to be brought in line with other states.

“Business owners have contacted me and are upset the Premier is ignoring national business recovery recommendations.

“Many Gippsland café and restaurant owners are telling me they can make the health guidelines work and start rebuilding their financial viability.

“Even a small level of table service would significantly boost their business, assist economic recovery and engage employees in productive work.

“Our local cafés and restaurants have worked very hard, reinventing their business models in the fight against COVID-19.

“Together, we have all made sacrifices to flatten the curve and protect our health services.

“The hospitality industry has taken a huge financial hit throughout the pandemic, but they have demonstrated they are ready and willing to adapt.

“Café and restaurants in Victoria must be given the choice to recommence seated service if they can meet National Cabinet’s health guidelines,” Ms Bath said.